“We Strive for Security” Contents Executive Summary 3 Opportunity 5 The Problem

“We Strive for Security”

Contents

Executive Summary 3

Opportunity 5

The Problem With Data Collection 5

Our solution 6

Target Market 7

Market size & segments 7

7

Figure 1: American View on Privacy (McQuinn, 2017, 11) 7

Execution 10

Values Proposition 10

Communication 10

Sales Plan 11

Customer Relationships 13

Revenue Generation 14

Demand and Price 15

Research and Development (R&D) 16

Regulatory and Ethical Considerations 16

References 18

A. Business Model Canvas 18

Executive Summary

SecureTree is an internet solutions company focused on improving client lifestyle by minimizing cases of private data infringement and misuse. The company recognizes the growing concern that the internet is currently a hub for compromised personal information that could land in the wrong hands for misuse. Therefore, by combining remarkable IT skills in programming and information retrieval, SecureTree locates, retrieves and deletes personal information from the internet. The company has potential for growth based on the rapidly evolving data industry. A prospective approach to growth sees our intended expansion objectives moving towards offering complex data collection and privacy solutions from a micro to macro industrial levels.

Privacy has been an ever-increasing issue with the development of technology. Large data breaches, hacking and fraud are some of the consequences of data collection. For example, the 2013 Yahoo data breach led to loss of over 3 billion personal data. The impact of this data breach is still felt presently as more people have their personal information readily available on the internet. Combine this breach with the numerous others, a massive clientele base is present for the company to utilize. Not only that, but as the industry grows and more eyes are on you and your personal/ private matters, more people are beginning to value privacy, as it makes their life easier and more comfortable.

SecureTree is a company that plans to use programming, customer service and web-based solutions to protect the privacy of our customers online personal information and data. An extensive skilled employee base with improve web-based solutions approach will conduct thorough data retrieval mechanisms on the internet upon our client’s request.

The online data privacy market is projected to have a large period of growth within the next decade as the data collection industry also steadily increases. Similarly, data security issues are rapidly increasing as documented in a 2019 report. The reports indicate that data breach cases increased with a whopping 55% in 2019 from the 2018 cases. Also, the recent COVID-19 pandemic increased internet use further exposing individuals to data breach cases. Rapid automation of organizational activities provides ample opportunities for cybercriminals to push their activities. Companies in the market use the information to make decisions regarding how to advertise towards consumers based on criteria like the decisions they make, what they buy, what websites they view, and then this information is used in algorithms to track what it is people will do in the future to capitalize on it. This offers ample market prospects for the company due to the increased regulatory needs for data security.

Very few other solutions exist when it comes to maintaining consistent online privacy for individual consumers. Though there are some companies on track with developing similar software, there are also other companies that manually contact companies and request that their customers be opt out from displaying their public information, but this method can be very time consuming and not that profitable. For example, SentinelOne and Coheisty are pioneering private companies that have spearheaded data protection mechanisms for clients across the globe. However, these companies do not offer comprehensive data retrieval and deletion benefits to its clients. This is a possibility that our SecureTree provides to its clients thus placing us ahead of the established companies.

We have an extensive talent pool with improved and modern skills in the data protection and retrieval approach. Furthermore, founding our working principles on the approaches used by past and established data security companies, we are focused on improving our techniques, thereby improving the services offered to our clien1ts. We are a customer-oriented organization seeking to design our services according to customer requirement and services.

Opportunity

The Problem With Data Collection

Globally the way we use data is transforming very rapidly and often involves machine learning to analyze how data is used and to predict future trends. The problem involving data privacy may seem only small at first or may only have isolated instances where people encounter things like fraud, stalking or online harassment, but the way consumer information is used and the lack of security of this information may have unintended consequences in the future. This could be things like larger data breaches that interrupt people’s daily functions if they cannot access any of their accounts or marketing/ society can get out of hand to the point where we have less freedom or control of how we live our lives. Furthermore, readily available personal data on the internet is a loophole that can lead to violation of people’s privacy. Therefore, the problem with data privacy extends to operational disruption and privacy violation that need updated approaches to solution generation.

Ideally, customers or individuals should have an easier way of being identified with their personal information, so they can access it but other people should not be able to access it. The use of data by large companies is okay in moderation because it has functionality in increasing commerce but often times the security or protection of this data is lacking because it is simply less profitable to do so. There are not enough efficient solutions that involve computing or software to protect things like information being stolen but the revenue that companies generate using consumer information to make decisions at the corporate level is very great, so they continue to do so. Therefore, customers being integral in data privacy, more extreme measures of protecting these data are required. Also, in cases where data breaches occur, personal information should be retrieved and deleted to prevent them falling into the wrong hands.

To be more specific, one major way people’s confidential information falls into the wrong hands that we are investigating a solution for is using public records and information sites. These websites buy peoples data and have information regarding most people in the United States. This information includes things like a person’s name, age, address, income, and has even come a far way in being able to link people’s social media profiles. Malicious activity can very easily occur with this information like identity fraud, spam phone calls, hacking, scams and credit card theft. As this information becomes stored, and how accessible it is, it becomes easier to have complications in people’s lives that are unexpected and everyday people unintentionally become liable.

Customers need future solutions for future problems. Privacy and protection of personal and business-related information are not only on-going issues for some people, but also consumers need a way of guaranteeing that they are safe from potential upcoming issues. This gives people peace of mind knowing that they are covered and secured for an extended period.

Most of the other solutions for data privacy offer protection for businesses but there are very few alternatives for consumers on the market. Certain solutions have been around for a long time for personal computers involving security but do not take into consideration the mass amount of data sharing and traffic that occurs between networks. Personal solutions involve things like computer firewalls, antivirus, and backup recovery. Many of these features are also involved and have also been adapted for network and online information sharing.

Our solution

SecureTree is investigating programming solutions that have the ability to navigate and scrounge web pages online to look for things associated with our customers’ privacy or linked with their personal information. This is known as data scraping and has been around for a long time but there has been little adaptation for the use of data privacy so that is what makes our solution unique. Python currently has capabilities to surf web pages fill in form requests that we can use to opt users out of their private information being displayed. This offers an extensive array of opportunities for customers to have a first-hand opinion on how and when their personal data will be retrieved from the internet. The active involvement of customers ensures complete and thorough data retrieval from the internet.

Target Market

Figure 1: American View on Privacy (McQuinn, 2017, 11)

After a survey from the Pew Research Center denotes the high proportion of Americans who consider information privacy particularly important, the value of data privacy is considered an integral aspect of the American virtual community. The above Figure 1 is an indication of the rapidly changing view of Americans on the importance of privacy. The proportion represents almost 80% of the people questioned, indicating a rising opportunity for our startup idea. Therefore, in the beginning our target market will majorly focus on Americans who have shown that data privacy is as important as the internet.

Also, we intended to protect personal information by preventing and reducing the identity theft and credit card theft that has been a permanent problem to many Americans. Stats show the almost 33% of American grown adults have experience some time of identity theft at some point in their life, the means that 1 of 15 people have been victims of this crime due to the publicity of personal information.

The intention of the software is to provide solutions to anyone dealing with current personal information problems and provide an immediate solution for those who do not know the repercussions regarding the distribution of personal information.

Customer Segments

We were able to narrow down our customer base to two main types of customers using surveys posted on internet communities and subreddits with topics related to privacy and others that were unrelated to generate better quality samples. The first category of customers was denoted as unaware of the impact of data collection and the ways it affected their lives, but this type used the internet often and had not taken steps to increase their privacy. The other main type of customer used the internet as frequently or more frequently than customer type 1 but had taken steps to increase their privacy and were aware of the data collection being done online. We were also able to track other statistics about the customers like their age and gender, what they spend their time doing on the internet and for how long, the extent to which they enjoy their privacy and what values they hold.

The main motivators that caused them to shift and take action were things that people provided in short responses. Some of the factors were things like encountering online harassment, stalking, hacking and scamming/fraud.

Interviews were also able to provide us with more in-depth information regarding our customers, and we were able to have a better idea of their personal experiences. One person we interviewed was in the IT/computer field and said that the tracking and data sharing from Google got to be too much for him and he eventually tried to cut ties and limit his interaction with this company and opted for services and applications that were much more open sourced, friendly and where information is openly shared. He even chose to replace his main search engine with one called DuckDuckGo because this service does not store user information or network information like IP addresses though DuckDuckGo shows the same results for a search term to all its users, whereas Google’s search engine displays results that fit to your previous search results. The tradeoff here is functionality vs insurance that your personal information isn’t being collected.

We think the reason privacy involving the internet is kind of niche is there isn’t a lot of awareness about the topic. Most people don’t know they are being tracked or have any knowledge of the subject so don’t know the extent to which technology has an impact in their internet usage or what their data and personal information is being used for. Or it is not directly relevant to them because it doesn’t cause any visible problems in their lives. One person we interviewed said the only extent they went through to protect their privacy was deleting their cookies. This shows that some potential customers have the awareness to know that tracking is happening, and their information is being stored, but it is not very important or hasn’t become relevant in their lives or else they may have taken more steps to protect it.

It seems like many potential customers are people that band together on the subject on forums or websites like reddit. They form groups where they discuss topics, or they are tech and computer savvy and are interested in news and development about the subject. It seems like in these subcommunities, online internet and news articles generate the most feedback, views and interaction. People like to see specific topics they can apply to discuss and give their personal experiences and testimonies. This type of customer wants to know what people are doing with their data, when exactly it is being collected, and how it will affect them in the future.

Execution

Values Proposition

Our company activities revolve around creating value for our customers. We are a tech company that is destined to offer solutions to the current market problems. Therefore, we promise to offer a skilled and knowledgeable team of employees that are compassionate and respectful. Furthermore, this team is motivated to develop solutions to current data privacy issues being experienced across the globe.

Constant investment on developing our advanced cybersecurity operations center is our primary goal as a company. This facility will offer extensive infrastructure support and platform needed by our team to develop programs and processes needed to battle data privacy issues.

A fully funded and operational customer relations department will offer consistent communication to clients in need of help. This will also be a support center offering resolutions to problems experienced when using our products.

Communication

We consider that the most direct way to reach out for customers and allow them to know the product we are providing is to promote our software throughout large advertising platforms for them to reach out and be able to get to know what solutions we are presenting. Is it important for us that the customers are aware of the potential risks and problems that may arise due to bad handling of personal information? After that we offer an immediate and effective solution through our software. Extensive advertisement channels such as the social media, industrial expos and word of mouth will be our primary approach in contacting prospective clients. With social media, a wide base of internet-based clients will interact with our company thus knowing the services that we provide. In industrial expos, we will physically interact with possible clients like big companies that are willing to develop astute data protection protocols for their clients and employees.

Sales Plan

The data privacy sector has been tipped to grow exponentially in the next two decades. As virtual lifestyle increases, so does the need for enhanced security. As shown in The Fortune Business Insights online magazine, the global data privacy software market is roughly $ 1.12 billion as of 2020. The global impact of COVID-19 had staggering impacts on the business as increased demand for these solutions emerged. Furthermore, the expected growth of data privacy demands in the next two decades is expected to increase the market size. By the end of 2028, the global data privacy market is expected to be around $17.75 billion, a staggering rise of 41.5%. In USA alone, a similar growth curve is expected further enhancing the prospects of fresh perspectives in this business type.

Figure 2: North American Data Privacy Software Market Size (Fortune Business Insights, 2021).

Also, organizations are continually seeking better and improved ways of initiating and maintaining data privacy for company and client data. Therefore, a prospective organization like SecureTree with its extensive approach in developing fresh and improved approaches towards data privacy maintenance, there is a high likelihood of acquiring clients. Non-governmental and governmental organizations are constantly transitioning from analog mechanisms of data storage to virtual approaches. This calls for increased data privacy measures for these organizations. Morgan (2020) explains that data privacy companies in North America alone are overwhelmed by the regional demand leading to more companies acquiring services from overseas companies. These companies are expensive and due to increased workload; they are incapable of providing quality services.

Extensive market reports and multiple evidence suggests that the data privacy market is presently large and expected to grow exponentially in the next decades. This offers a massive opportunity for SecureTree in its attempt to have a large clientele base. An assurance that the organization will provide quality and improved services for its clients is also an assurance that the company will enjoy a significant market share. However, the growth projections of the data privacy market will also allure other industrial players, thus increasing competition. It is thus reasonable to invest in service improvement and talent acquisition to ensure our services tackle the present problems existing in the market.

Company Model

Distribution Channel

Before the product and services reach the final buyer, they will pass through several channels. This is an important phase after the production phase. Therefore, the company goal is to establish and adopt proper distribution channels capable of availing the company products and services to the client fast and efficiently. The knowledge that distribution channels directly impact the company’s sales should be a guiding factor to ensure appropriate channels are selected. An indirect distribution channel is the most effective approach for our company. Inducing an intermediary between the company and the consumer is an effective approach. This is due to the nature of the product and service we provide.

As a data privacy company, we are focused on developing improved programs; therefore, our resources and time should focus on the production phase. Using an indirect distribution approach will ensure the company can focus on developing improved products for its clients. Also, an indirect approach favors a crucial company mission which is to reduce the time between an order is made, and the delivery initiated. An indirect approach reduces the distance between the product and the consumer since these distributors will be evenly distributed across the country. Furthermore, properly trained individuals at these outlets will offer comprehensive education on how to use these products.

However, at some point, a direct approach will be applied when services are rendered to clients. For example, the installation of data privacy programs for corporates will only be done by qualified company employees. This ensures that everything is done according to company standards. These kinds of services will be purchased directly from the company, and the company will ensure they are delivered and integrated into the customer’s systems.

Customer Relationships

One way of approaching our different types of customers discussed in customer segments would be to spread awareness and have market direction towards types of customers. Customer type 1 that did not have any experience with data collection, may be able to be converted to customer type 2 if they were provided with examples and are able to notice the ways in which privacy or lack thereof affects them. This would help shift our customers into one group but also diversify them, which marketing towards a single customer base would be more sustainable.

As a broader scale, our company is focused on delivering quality products and services as the first measure of fostering a long-term relationship with the customers. However, we have also put plans in place to ensure a long-term engagement with our clients is achieved. An operational customer relations department will be a key part of the company. This department will be equipped with the right individuals to assist customers with their day-to-day queries involving customer products. The department will also be responsible for customer services to neutralize any possible negative feedback from the clients. A 24/7 operational department will also adopt a long-term approach in establishing long-term relations via constant communication with the market.

A consistent, proactive communication from the company department will enhance customer loyalty thus improving sales. The department will slowly be guided into creating a world-class customer service model where customers are treated with respect and urgency. This entails constant provision to meet the demands of customers that raise questions on the product workability. Also, we will try to personalize the experiences for every customer, so they are able to make purchases that fit their needs. A personalized experience ensures that customers feel special and accepted within.

Revenue Generation

Data privacy is a complex series of processes that involve numerous products in the industry. As a company offering some of these products, a transaction revenue model will be the best approach towards generating revenue. Our sole purpose is to develop better products and services for the consumers who will then pay for them. This is a simple yet effective revenue model that attracts more consumers. The model reduces complications needed to generate income, thus ensuring reduced revenue losses.

A subscription revenue model will also be applied in this company for customers that need data protection services. This is especially viable for corporates that need constant and continuous data protection protocols within their systems. It is an effective approach that generates recurring revenues for the company while also benefiting customers.

Web-sales revenue models are another possible approach intended to benefit the company and the customers by eliminating physical interactions. In this model, the client will directly pay for software benefits directly on the internet. After payments have been initiated, the product will be virtually delivered to the client.

Finally, a Channel Sales model will be used to ensure the company products are available in numerous tech stores across the country. These are resellers and agents that will first buy the products from the company and resell them to customers. Also, agents will be distributed across the country to offer services while also selling the company products. After sales, the products will be delivered to the clients.

Demand and Price

We were able to glimpse at how likely it was that we would be able to keep our customers based on their responses in the surveys. This will give us a more clear approach of how the customer perceives our startup and the functionality they might encounter.

Additionally, feedback on the price point will help us scale the monthly expected value in sales to a figure that is annual, so in the future other costs, expenses and revenue generation can be factored into a single model. This gives us a glimpse of how much is the customer is willing to pay for our services.

Research and Development (R&D)

Research and development are one of the primary motivators for the company because the market we are involved in is constantly evolving. In the next year, there may not be too many additional costs and each of the primary employees will be investigating new methods of protecting privacy. We have considered potential features for browser addons that encrypt information and limit the amount of data that is being sent as feedback to google.

Regulatory and Ethical Considerations

It seems that the behavior that our company has is mostly positive from an ethical point of view. Giving people the rights to protect their data from large corporations and have control over unforeseen matters in their life is a good thing in general. Since the process in our business model is mostly one that is online, it is free of other obligations or limitations that other businesses may have when it comes to product design. A physical product design may have consequences like pollution or other external factors that create ethical conflict. However, one way this impacts our customers is although it encourages privacy in a positive way, it may make people less likely to share their information, which could be a negative. This is because getting in the habit of hiding your information limits the types of social experiences in your life.

Economically, SecureTree opens a new sector in the privacy market and in the data collection market which is a good thing because it brings new opportunities for work and people with specialization when it comes to engineering or people searching for work involved with software. On the flip side, other companies involved with data collection may disapprove of what we are doing because may trace more of the capital involved in their area of the market into ours, but this may also make data collection companies work harder to discover innovative solutions or find fresh marketing potential.

All U.S. citizens have the right to have their information removed from the internet even if it is not a privacy concern, and companies are obligated to fulfill this request. But these companies are also legally allowed to collect and share citizens’ data and information, and publicly upload them. Though they are also more liable to costs incurred from things like data breaches, when can create large disputes and settlements for millions of dollars for data like usernames and passwords that are confidential that get lost and subjected to fraudulent activity like hacking. However, on our end, we may be subject to liability with our control of customers online public information but not in the same way other companies are. When it comes to privacy, it has been ruled in previous court decisions that control over data has been given to whoever values it more [McQuinn, 2017]. From an ethical point of view, people that are paying for a solution to have their data more protected and who identify with the data may be more legally protected for small individual cases, though data companies also have a lot more value. Having electronic user agreements with our customers would be greatly beneficial for clarification. Therefore, the company offers ample opportunities for ethical contributions to the community and the general public.

References

A. Business Model Canvas

“An Ethical Approach to Data Privacy Protection.” ISACA, https://www.isaca.org/resources/isaca-journal/issues/2016/volume-6/an-ethical-approach-to-data-privacy-protection.

“Research: A Market Where Consumers Can Pay for Privacy Is Emerging.”

Fortune Business Insights. (2021). The global data privacy software market is projected to grow from $1.57 billion in 2021 to $17.75 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 41.5% in forecast period. Fortune Business Insight; Technology and Media. Read More at: – https://www.fortunebusinessinsights.com/data-privacy-software-market-105420

McQuinn, Alan. “The Economics of ‘Opt-out’ Versus ‘Opt-In’ Privacy Rules.” The Economics of “Opt-Out” Versus “Opt-In” Privacy Rules, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, 6 Oct. 2017, https://itif.org/publications/2017/10/06/economics-opt-out-versus-opt-in-privacy-rules.

Morgan, B. (2020).  Stats showing why companies need to prioritize consumer privacy. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2020/06/22/50-stats-showing-why-companies-need-to-prioritize-consumer-privacy/?sh=3b396d6437f6

VentureBeat, VentureBeat, 30 Apr. 2021, https://venturebeat.com/2021/04/30/research-a-market-where-consumers-can-pay-for-privacy-is-emerging/.

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Team 15

Pedro Monsalve, Hunter Starkey, Almuntasir Al Kayid

EIN – 4890 Senior Design Project I – DR2

09/3/21

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